Review and Summary
‘The invention of Wings’ is written by Sue Monk Kidd. It is intense, profound, emotional and accurate. It centers on freedom. Its importance and the pain of its absence are shown by the story of Sarah Grimke and her slave Handful aka Hetty. The novel is set in America, but in a very sad time. It is set in the era when south wanted nothing more than to secure its lot in the slave industry.
The most interesting thing is that the story of the sisters from Charleston, S.C, Sarah and Angelina Grimke is true. This makes the novella blend of fiction and reality. The writer has explained in the notes; which parts are real and which are not. This gives us a touch of the real struggle and the pain of that time. Reading such a book and knowing that parts of it are true, does something to you.
The Invention of Wings Plot
The book is the story of Sarah Grimke. Even at a young age, she knew she was meant to do something big. She had the opinions about slavery that were dared not to be spoken at that time. The great difference she thinks she is meant to make can’t be achieved because of the society’s limitations on women. Hence, she is trapped.
This book is actually the tale of being trapped; in physically and mentally. The other character with a story of the lack of freedom is Handful also called Hetty. Hetty was a slave given to Sarah on her eleventh birthday. Hetty was only 10 years old at the time. Their relationship isn’t the common, brutal master-slave relationship. This is because even at such an age Sarah is mature enough to find the idea of owning a human obscure. The duo sets off on a journey of self-development of over 35 years. They both play important parts in each other’s destinies.
As the story goes on they both go through life changing experiences. Handful goes through hurt and sorrow. Sarah experiences loss and heart-wrenching betrayal. They go alongside each other and form a unique relationship vested with guilt, disobedience, rupture and unusual ways of love. Sarah’s life becomes about to crush hopes. But they survive through all that to achieve their dream; freedom. Sarah and her fearless sister Angelica set off to the mission of equal rights for women. While Hetty battles with the curse of slavery.
Many of us think we know something about slavery just because we have read about it in our books or because we think we can imagine what it must have felt like. But it isn’t so; things like being bound forever, without having committed a crime can never be completely felt. This book gives an insight to the mind if enslaved rather than an account of the big scheme of things. There are history books describing each day of that era in great detail, but this book gives you the feelings of just two girls, living among that chaos. Those feelings are enough to make you curse slavery forever and to know the price and value of the freedom you have. This is the effect this book will have on you.
Greatly written, well researched, amazingly powerful and creatively weaved; this book will stay with you forever.